Saturday, June 06, 2009

Values: old vs. new - a perspective

I am 49 years young. However, when dealing with the tweens of today (those who are between teenage and adulthood, viz. my daughters, and others of their age), I feel like someone from Satyug. I am not joking, and most readers of my age will probably be nodding their heads in understanding. :-)
Values have changed so much, that often, what seems like a "ghor apradh" to me, sounds like a "all in a day's work" to my children! They think nothing of ignoring your requests to this household chore, or postpone the purchase of a 4 GB card for the time being, or wait a little while to have lunch while their father is on the way home, negotiating the killer traffic at Bhendi Bazaar. To them, retiring to their own rooms when my friends come to the house is, to put it bluntly, their bounden duty. It matters not that their mother (my wife) comes home after a hard day's work, hungry and thirsty: if I nudge one of them to get up and get her a glass of water, or to unburden her of her handbag or something, they will immediately turn the other way, or tell me to ask the "other daughter"' or, they will get her the water, and then refuse to do the next task asked of them, saying that they "already got up once to get mom water".
It is not only frustrating, but also demeaning, to hear them shout at each other at 11:30 p.m. to "give me more space on the bed, and to shift there."
I am sorry if this diary sounds like a public lament of my daughters, but I am using my examples to illustrate what is, I am sure, a general experience of most parents.
Coming to adult values, it is too late when yesterday's teens realise where they went wrong. Their own ghosts come to haunt them later on. Values never change, only perceptions do. And yet, false values have gradually seeped into the moral fabric of the society. Petty behaviour, insulting an elder to that person's face, speaking rudely to one's own teacher/boss/superior, ignoring the pleas of one's own parents or elder siblings, etc. are now so acceptable, that the youth does not even consider it as wrong behaviour. To a large extent, the open sky policy and the invasion of channels from the West have contributed to this moral depradation. Music today has words like F@@K and so on openly weaved into the lyrics. In such an environment, how can the tween remain untouched?
The need of the hour is to sit with them and talk to them, to sensitize them to their follies, and to do all this before it is too late.
Can I do it? I don't know. Can you? Do tell me! 


vin said...

It is a stratified/layered society we live in. The members of each layer are bound together by their common interests. They have conflicts with members of other layers because there are no shared common interests between layers.

At the bottom (not literally) is the children layer, then come the tweens, the adults and then the aged. You will notice that members of each layer flock together. That is because they have common aims to protect and cherish.

As a child you will bond more readily with other children. As a tween you are more interested in other tweens. As an earning adult you are part of the establishment looking in askance at the rebels below and seeking to protect your hard earned property. As an aged person you are so way removed from the tween/children layer that you can't 'understand' them!

If, God forbid, a life threatening situation exists they will all rally round you at the drop of a word but till then their interests beckon them.

Increasing population has changed the dynamics of the world we live in. They being young have adapted readily, while the elders becoming less flexible with age can no longer adapt and assimilate the rapid changes.

If the world appears to be moving faster it is merely due to more and more people pushing the envelope in all sectors - good and evil. Living in India's urbs prima you cannot expect a sylvan existence. It is no longer a meandering isolated tribe randomly crossing over from Africa to populate the world. Soon it will be a stampeding targeted humanity streaming across the earth-moon gap to terraform the solar system.

Taher Kagalwala said...

Dear Vin,

AS usual, you have written wisely. I appreciate your comments and the language you have written those in. I agree. Things cannot improve; rather, they can only worsen.

vin said...

"Things fall apart; the center cannot hold... "

"How Green was my (V)alley?"

One continues to soldier on as does 'Terminator Salvation'!

We have to live out our lives within the framework of the game we find ourselves in. If the ball lands out service again!

Only an Icarus attempts to break out only to fall back badly burnt.

Onward Ho!